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Pissing in the Snow and Other Ozark Folktales

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Vance Randolph has long been an undeniable presence on the American folklore scholarship scene. His Ozark corpus is "the best known single body of regional folklore in the United States," according to Richard Dorson, director of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University. And Gershon Legman, the world's leading scholar of sexual and scatological humor, has called Randolp Vance Randolph has long been an undeniable presence on the American folklore scholarship scene. His Ozark corpus is "the best known single body of regional folklore in the United States," according to Richard Dorson, director of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University. And Gershon Legman, the world's leading scholar of sexual and scatological humor, has called Randolph "the greatest and most successful field collector and regional folklorist that America ever had." In Legman's estimation, "We have no one else like him. He is a national treasure, like Mark Twain. Randolph's reputation rests on the massive accumulation of folksong, folktale, and ballad materials he collected during forty years of living and working in the Ozarks. Unfortunately, in the 1950s when Randolph published several collection of Ozark tales, the material in this volume was considered unprintable. Pissing in the Snow departs from the academic prudery that until recently has restricted the amount of bawdy folklore available for study. It presents a body of material that for twenty years has circulated only in manuscript or microfilm under its present title. When placed in their rightful context alongside Randolph's other collections of folk material, the bawdy tales help provide evidence of what Ozark hill people think about their own lives and language. As Rayna Green writes in her introduction, "The entire body of material . . . offers a picture of expressive behavior unparalleled by any other American region's or group's study." Hoffmann's annotations draw parallels between the erotic narrative tradition of the Ozarks and that in other parts of the country and the world, especially Europe.  


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Vance Randolph has long been an undeniable presence on the American folklore scholarship scene. His Ozark corpus is "the best known single body of regional folklore in the United States," according to Richard Dorson, director of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University. And Gershon Legman, the world's leading scholar of sexual and scatological humor, has called Randolp Vance Randolph has long been an undeniable presence on the American folklore scholarship scene. His Ozark corpus is "the best known single body of regional folklore in the United States," according to Richard Dorson, director of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University. And Gershon Legman, the world's leading scholar of sexual and scatological humor, has called Randolph "the greatest and most successful field collector and regional folklorist that America ever had." In Legman's estimation, "We have no one else like him. He is a national treasure, like Mark Twain. Randolph's reputation rests on the massive accumulation of folksong, folktale, and ballad materials he collected during forty years of living and working in the Ozarks. Unfortunately, in the 1950s when Randolph published several collection of Ozark tales, the material in this volume was considered unprintable. Pissing in the Snow departs from the academic prudery that until recently has restricted the amount of bawdy folklore available for study. It presents a body of material that for twenty years has circulated only in manuscript or microfilm under its present title. When placed in their rightful context alongside Randolph's other collections of folk material, the bawdy tales help provide evidence of what Ozark hill people think about their own lives and language. As Rayna Green writes in her introduction, "The entire body of material . . . offers a picture of expressive behavior unparalleled by any other American region's or group's study." Hoffmann's annotations draw parallels between the erotic narrative tradition of the Ozarks and that in other parts of the country and the world, especially Europe.  

30 review for Pissing in the Snow and Other Ozark Folktales

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    This book contains a great collection of wild and woolly tales about all manner of folksy fornication. Good gawd, those mountain folk sure loved to tell filthy stories! I was blushing (and laughing) the whole time I was reading. Here are tales too ticklish to tell your preacher, though certainly more than a few of the stories feature preachers and their rather "unholy" antics. Tsk, tsk! The title tale is perhaps the cleanest story in the book: One time there were two farmers that lived out on the This book contains a great collection of wild and woolly tales about all manner of folksy fornication. Good gawd, those mountain folk sure loved to tell filthy stories! I was blushing (and laughing) the whole time I was reading. Here are tales too ticklish to tell your preacher, though certainly more than a few of the stories feature preachers and their rather "unholy" antics. Tsk, tsk! The title tale is perhaps the cleanest story in the book: One time there were two farmers that lived out on the road to Carico. They was always good friends, and Bill's oldest boy had been a-sparking one of Sam's daughters. Everything was going fine till the morning they met down by the creek, and Sam was pretty goddam mad. "Bill," says he, "from now on I don't want that boy of yours to set foot on my place." "Why, what's he done?" asked the boy's daddy. "He pissed in the snow, that's what he done, right in front of my house!" "But surely, there ain't no great harm in that," Bill says. "No harm!" hollered Sam. "Hell's fire, he pissed so it spelled Lucy's name, right there in the snow!" "The boy shouldn't have done that," says Bill. "But I don't see nothing so terrible bad about it." "Well, by God, I do!" yelled Sam. "There was two sets of tracks! And besides, don't you think I know my own daughter's handwriting?"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    This book was hysterical. Most of the stories were centered around sex, all of them were defined by this beautiful regionalism that too often is ignored. Hillbillies, people of the Ozarks region, and the people who live in the Appalachian territory are often caricatured by the image of inbred rapists taken straight out of Deliverance. This book goes a long way of combating that image I think, because it offers a second look by showing these people as humorous and at times self-parodying. Pissing This book was hysterical. Most of the stories were centered around sex, all of them were defined by this beautiful regionalism that too often is ignored. Hillbillies, people of the Ozarks region, and the people who live in the Appalachian territory are often caricatured by the image of inbred rapists taken straight out of Deliverance. This book goes a long way of combating that image I think, because it offers a second look by showing these people as humorous and at times self-parodying. Pissing in the snow is a collection of folk-tales and funny stories, recorded directly by Vance Randolph who studied folk-tales and regional narratives, and this book then is a fascinating glimpse at the way a people of a region crafted stories that would make them laugh, while understanding sexuality. This was a great read. You can read my full review of the book at my site White Tower Musings by following the link below: https://jsjammersmith.wordpress.com/2...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Arnett

    The word "pecker" appears in this book approximately 20,000 times. The word "pecker" appears in this book approximately 20,000 times.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sara Stuckey

    Okay...my Dad somehow was given this book and he tried to throw it out, but NEVER NEVER try to throw away something you don't want your kids to read in the kitchen garbage and then not take the bag out!! So there it was, sitting at the top of the trash, and with such an intriguing title to a 13-year-old, HOW COULD I NOT?? Scatological humor abounds!! Okay...my Dad somehow was given this book and he tried to throw it out, but NEVER NEVER try to throw away something you don't want your kids to read in the kitchen garbage and then not take the bag out!! So there it was, sitting at the top of the trash, and with such an intriguing title to a 13-year-old, HOW COULD I NOT?? Scatological humor abounds!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fox

    This is one of the first collections of bawdy folklore ever collected. You might ask yourself why anyone should collect dirty jokes. They're commonplace enough, after all, and often the lowest form of humor. What sort of purpose does collecting them serve? The truth of the matter is that more is revealed in this sort of common humor than in sanitized stories and legends. Dirty jokes reveal information about the morals and social mores of a group of people, what they find important and what they d This is one of the first collections of bawdy folklore ever collected. You might ask yourself why anyone should collect dirty jokes. They're commonplace enough, after all, and often the lowest form of humor. What sort of purpose does collecting them serve? The truth of the matter is that more is revealed in this sort of common humor than in sanitized stories and legends. Dirty jokes reveal information about the morals and social mores of a group of people, what they find important and what they don't. Even the erstwhile morals of stories reveal more than we might care to admit about what we find important and value. This collection is further unique in that a good deal of the stories were told by women - something distressingly rare in 50s anthropology. What is revealed by the women's tales are what women focus on in that society - what they think, how they feel. That having been said, these stories are surprisingly progressive in and of themselves. Women are valued, and viewed as savvy if not savvier than men. Women are in control more often than not, and are able to manipulate their partners to get what they want in often non-malicious ways. Ultimately these stories are revealing values common across America, across people. It humanizes the Appalachian population in a way that is rarely done. I'm looking forward to passing this book along to a friend of mine to see what she makes of it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Workman

    Reading this book is like having to listen to a creepy relative telling offensive, incestuous dirty jokes one after the other for over two hundred pages. I only gave it two stars because I appreciate the author's effort to trace the origins of these folks stories in an academic way. Reading this book is like having to listen to a creepy relative telling offensive, incestuous dirty jokes one after the other for over two hundred pages. I only gave it two stars because I appreciate the author's effort to trace the origins of these folks stories in an academic way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Alan

    Sometimes you get book recommendations from the most unexpected places. While visiting my home town in Arkansas a couple of years ago one of my oldest friends recommended this. I was a bit skeptical at first due to the title and the strange looks I received from used book sellers when inquiring about it. I finally found a nice edition online. Sometimes you also learn things from the most unexpected places. That the preservation of American folklore is a scholarly pursuit. (I had no idea) That th Sometimes you get book recommendations from the most unexpected places. While visiting my home town in Arkansas a couple of years ago one of my oldest friends recommended this. I was a bit skeptical at first due to the title and the strange looks I received from used book sellers when inquiring about it. I finally found a nice edition online. Sometimes you also learn things from the most unexpected places. That the preservation of American folklore is a scholarly pursuit. (I had no idea) That the author, Vance Randolph, was actually a pretty big deal during the mid twentieth century with comparisons to Mark Twain. That despite what your grandparents told you, the generations and times really haven’t changed that much. There have always been bawdy tales and dirty jokes and if you pay attention there is a life lesson, morality tale, or words of wisdom hidden in each one. Finally, the majority of these old folktales were collected in NW Arkansas in or around Eureka Springs where I spent many a summer vacation as a child. That made it even more enjoyable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sean A.

    "the widow woman just stared at old Burdick's pecker. "For all I care" she says "you can cut the thing off and stick it up his ass...even when he was alive, Tom wasn't none too particular where he put it." Wowshit! what a doozy! Nevermind all the scholarly back-of-the-book quotes and introduction in my edition, this is something goddamn else entirely. 101 of some of the most ribald scenes imaginable all about a page long and going straight for the gut! When i read it by myself at a coffeeshop i "the widow woman just stared at old Burdick's pecker. "For all I care" she says "you can cut the thing off and stick it up his ass...even when he was alive, Tom wasn't none too particular where he put it." Wowshit! what a doozy! Nevermind all the scholarly back-of-the-book quotes and introduction in my edition, this is something goddamn else entirely. 101 of some of the most ribald scenes imaginable all about a page long and going straight for the gut! When i read it by myself at a coffeeshop i found myself sometimes laughing a bit but what I would really recommend is reading it aloud with a partner or a friend. That's when i found myself laughing so hard snot came dripping down my nose and farts out my asshole! While this does have a certain way-back cultural value to it it's also an unexpected flat out joke book. Either way it's weird and good.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    I read this when I was probably way too young for it and should read it again to see what I really do remember of it - the intriguing title is what drew me as an adolescent, of course. I remember it being very "adults only" so unless you're ok with raunchy, this isn't for you. I read this when I was probably way too young for it and should read it again to see what I really do remember of it - the intriguing title is what drew me as an adolescent, of course. I remember it being very "adults only" so unless you're ok with raunchy, this isn't for you.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    Quite possibly the oddest little book I've ever read. If you like bawdy, dirty jokes, you might like this collection of stories. Quite possibly the oddest little book I've ever read. If you like bawdy, dirty jokes, you might like this collection of stories.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    captivating, best read on bart. sexy, funny, anthropologic, telling of folktales of the ozarks a fun read

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Harper

    Legendary at least in my family, this collection of X-rated Ozark folktails helps reveal some of the true character of the Ozarks. Also, it has really great names for genitals in it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    First line: “One time there was two farmers that lived out on the road to Carico.” Last line: “You can see Oronogo painted right on the post office window, any time you feel like driving up Main Street.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I don't care how you dress it up in academic robes: a book of dirty jokes is only that. I don't care how you dress it up in academic robes: a book of dirty jokes is only that.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sam Legere

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Dirty old Vance and his dirty old pants!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Silly Sadly

    I could die from laughing this book is so full of tall-tales I love it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    This is easily one of the least politically correct books I've ever read, and that's kind of the point. For one, Randolph, the most avid collector of Ozark stories in history, died in 1980, and collected most of these stories in the 1930's. And this is very much backcountry humor to begin with: most of the stories involve either a man seducing a woman in a very crass and raunchy way or an equally raunchy (or at least profanity-laden) story about the origins of some local tradition or solidarity This is easily one of the least politically correct books I've ever read, and that's kind of the point. For one, Randolph, the most avid collector of Ozark stories in history, died in 1980, and collected most of these stories in the 1930's. And this is very much backcountry humor to begin with: most of the stories involve either a man seducing a woman in a very crass and raunchy way or an equally raunchy (or at least profanity-laden) story about the origins of some local tradition or solidarity against damn Yankees and rich people. Most of the characters are either farmers or old people who live in cabins in the woods. It's very essentially Ozark in character, and those of more sensitive dispositions (especially college-educated women) will be offended from the get go. These stories show pretty much the opposite of feminism, and of progressive values generally. With that said, if you can get past the crudeness, this book offers an interesting, if limited window into Ozark culture in the early 20th century and earlier (many of these stories have notes that say that the original person that Foster heard it from had been hearing it himself since the mid-19th century). The main complaint I have as a reader is that the tales cover such a limited range of subject matter that reading the book from start to finish can really drag. I do, however, think it interesting to find evidence directly contradicting the 19th and early 20th century media's portrayal of all people of those ages as "proper gentlemen"; it's amazingly different from the other cultural artifacts of that era (e.g. Hollywood films, "great literature", and other culture deemed important by rich people) that have survived. In that sense, Randolph did the historical record a great service by dedicating his life to preserving this sort of culture. Basically, this is a book that has more academic uses today than it does popular uses. While this was somewhat intentional given Randolph's aim to preserve these stories for historical purposes, it's also ironic given the subjects' disdain for intellectualism generally. Because it's not a book that can be read from start to finish in one sitting and is horribly offensive in a non-historical context, it really can only be appreciated in an academic context. However, anyone who is seriously interested in Ozark history or in American cultural history generally might want to give it a look.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Algernon

    Folklorist Vance Randolph assembled the definitive collections of Ozark tales, and this volume existed for a long time as a forbidden, unpublishable gift box of filthy jokes from the mountains and surrounding regions. The jokes are told in the dialect of the locals who told Randolph these tall tales and dirty jokes, unabashedly scatological and frank about sex, excretory functions, and body parts. 101 of these tales, accompanied by scholarly annotations whose presence only adds to the humor. Eve Folklorist Vance Randolph assembled the definitive collections of Ozark tales, and this volume existed for a long time as a forbidden, unpublishable gift box of filthy jokes from the mountains and surrounding regions. The jokes are told in the dialect of the locals who told Randolph these tall tales and dirty jokes, unabashedly scatological and frank about sex, excretory functions, and body parts. 101 of these tales, accompanied by scholarly annotations whose presence only adds to the humor. Even so, not all of these are laugh-out-loud funny or even clever. Is this intended as a scholarly collection or a pleasing collection of American humor? More the former than the latter, but somewhere in between.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Frederick

    These are jokes, gathered the same way as folk archivists gather songs. This sort of story-telling is as rare today as singing on the back porch with a banjo and a Coleman lantern. The jokes are really stories. You've heard Travelling Salesman jokes, but these are Travelling Salesman tall tales. They are hilarious and you do learn a lot about how people in rural parts of America fifty years and more ago spoke. A lot of people who like humorous writing won't find these stories particularly intrigui These are jokes, gathered the same way as folk archivists gather songs. This sort of story-telling is as rare today as singing on the back porch with a banjo and a Coleman lantern. The jokes are really stories. You've heard Travelling Salesman jokes, but these are Travelling Salesman tall tales. They are hilarious and you do learn a lot about how people in rural parts of America fifty years and more ago spoke. A lot of people who like humorous writing won't find these stories particularly intriguing. There is almost no insult humor as we know it. These are just whoppers that are dirty as get-all.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Though this is touted as a seminal work by a great American folklorist, this book is basically a collection of dirty jokes from the Ozarks. Some of them are amusing, some are groaners, and others are more than a little distressing. If nothing else, I certainly learned some colorful and descriptive new vocabulary for parts of the human anatomy. And I'll admit to a few hearty chuckles in spite of myself. Though this is touted as a seminal work by a great American folklorist, this book is basically a collection of dirty jokes from the Ozarks. Some of them are amusing, some are groaners, and others are more than a little distressing. If nothing else, I certainly learned some colorful and descriptive new vocabulary for parts of the human anatomy. And I'll admit to a few hearty chuckles in spite of myself.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Hilarious collection of bawdy tales from the Ozarks. Must have a sense of humor. I well remember this as a much appreciated release from the exertions of Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow." From an academic perspective, I actually do think it's a great that someone's preserved some examples of the lighter, cruder side of oral traditions. We're human beings, not automatons, and needn't spend all of our time in serious pursuits. Hilarious collection of bawdy tales from the Ozarks. Must have a sense of humor. I well remember this as a much appreciated release from the exertions of Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow." From an academic perspective, I actually do think it's a great that someone's preserved some examples of the lighter, cruder side of oral traditions. We're human beings, not automatons, and needn't spend all of our time in serious pursuits.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Vance Randolph is awesome. This book is not at all bowlderized. I can picture old guys in bars telling these stories that often have to do with sex or excretion. I haven't read it in a while, so that may actually have been where/how the stories were collected. A great read for someone who automatically equates folklore with fairy tales and disney. Vance Randolph is awesome. This book is not at all bowlderized. I can picture old guys in bars telling these stories that often have to do with sex or excretion. I haven't read it in a while, so that may actually have been where/how the stories were collected. A great read for someone who automatically equates folklore with fairy tales and disney.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Richard Jespers

    KD recommended this for me after seeing that many of the stories came from or near Eureka Springs, Arkansas—where I had a two-month residency at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. A great tribute to the oral tradition as most of these stories have been passed down from generation to generation, often with a birth from an earlier civilization (Irish, etc.).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Happened upon this little gem in the library while looking through the folk tale section. I figured I'd better check it out since it's so close to home and I love to hear old tales. This is pretty raunchy downhome stories and talk. A quick, easy read and the title story Pissing in the Snow is by far one of the funniest. This book is not for anyone without a nasty sense of humor. Happened upon this little gem in the library while looking through the folk tale section. I figured I'd better check it out since it's so close to home and I love to hear old tales. This is pretty raunchy downhome stories and talk. A quick, easy read and the title story Pissing in the Snow is by far one of the funniest. This book is not for anyone without a nasty sense of humor.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Bizarre stories from North America's Ozark region. Full of crude jokes, incest, mistaken identities, and absurdities, it's wholesome fun for the entire family. Not recommended for those with an exclusively clean sense of humor. Bizarre stories from North America's Ozark region. Full of crude jokes, incest, mistaken identities, and absurdities, it's wholesome fun for the entire family. Not recommended for those with an exclusively clean sense of humor.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    This collection of bawdy tales collected from the turn of the last century by Ozark scholar Vance Randolph will have you chuckling everywhere and laughing out right at the most inappropriate times. Folk tales as funny as any Chaucer ever told!

  27. 4 out of 5

    William

    This the perfect book for a sit down on the toilet. One hundred and one tales and jokes, all a little off color. This is my second time through the collection, but it has been so long since the first that the stories remain fresh. Might as well read rather than wasting your time in the bathroom.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    holy shit - these stories are raunchy. Hillbillies have weird senses of humor, and I couldn't stop reading about it. holy shit - these stories are raunchy. Hillbillies have weird senses of humor, and I couldn't stop reading about it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Krotpong

    The origins of hillbilly humour.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vern

    naughty- funny book written way on back. all stories are 2 pages long and are great reading aloud in bed.

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